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Confused and frustrated with DWP -- Advice anyone?

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Before I launch into my rant I shall give you a bit of background; I moved to the UK 11 years ago to work. I come from a EEA country, albeit not a EU one.

 

In 2004 I found myself unemployed and claimed JSA for a period of time, returned to work and was soon after unable to work due to severe back pain, nerve impingement syndrome etc which in turn led to depression, suicidal attempts/thoughts and panic attacks/social anxiety. I then claimed DLA+IS (I wasn't entitled to IB at the time and was given IS instead) and HB+CT. I was in receipt of these benefits until 2008 when I moved in with my partner and stopped claiming these benefits as I had no "need" to claim them as my partner could support us both financially.

 

We suffered through a painful pregnancy (I'll never repeat that experience!) in which I was drugged up to be able to cope with the pain and had a baby boy nearly five months ago. Within a month of little one being born my partner left me for a 17 year old girl (but that's another rant entirely).

 

I suddenly found myself with a monthly income of 80.30 (child benefit) and nothing else, so naturally I contacted the DWP who adviced that as I had a small child their "eligibility test" suggested the most suitable benefit to claim would be Income Support.

 

I made my claim for IS at the beginning of April, attended my work focused interview, partook in and passed the JCPs "Habitual Residency Test" and started the Long Wait...

 

After much waiting and much nagging (I would phone the Benefit Enquiry line daily) they finally decided the JCP wasn't in a position to "do" a HRT on me and I would need to do a different one which they posted to me, fair enough! It arrived, I filled it out, returned it and continued waiting.

 

By this point I'd spent three weeks living off boiled rice, just plain boiled rice. I'm depressed, scared, down in the dumps and my son has been diagnosed with "failure to thrive" as my poor diet is making for poor milk supply which in turn prevents him from putting on weight as he should.

 

Distrought I phone them up to chase and blurt out my situation to the lady on the phone who helpfully puts me on to a manager, she promises to chase my HRT and get back to me.

 

A few hours later she did, they'd expedited my HRT and I'd been denied. I no longer meet habitual residency requirements, do not have a right to remain and they will not pay me any IS, HB or CT. She suggests I claim JSA instead.

 

I visit the CAB who help me write an appeals letter, we phone up and ask how long this will take and am told it will be atleast 3 months before an appeal is looked at. They also contact the Housing Benefit people regarding "provisional discretionary payments" (which they've decided they can't proceed with due to the uncertainty of my habitual residency status).

 

I then phone the JCP and explain I've been adviced to claim JSA, but when explaining my circumstances of both having a small child and ongoing health problems which means I'd require a job in which they'd be flexible enough for me to leave when having a panic attack, not come in when my back is at its worst or when my depression makes me unable to face the world etc etc they do another eligibility test and decide the most suitable benefit for me to claim would be ESA. We do the claim over the phone and now of course I have been sent a "Habitual Residency Form" to establish whether I'm habitually resident in this country; which I can only assume will also be denied as it's processed by the same office in Wicks, Scotland as the first one done for IS.

 

In the meantime though I am unable to provide for my son, feed myself or meet any of our outgoings (rent, bills etc) and starting to get seriously worried. Had I not had Little One I am confident I would have ended my life already as I am unable to see any future bar one in which I am homeless with a sick, under nourished child, roaming the streets while my anxiety and panic attacks gradually take over my mind.

 

I am in a complete flap. I have no idea what to do or where to turn. The CAB are doing what they can to help, but well, there's not a whole lot they can do.

 

What really confuses me though is the fact that up until June 2008 I was receiving Income Support and considered habitually resident. How can I suddenly have stopped being habitually resident in the past two years?

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Hello, thank you for contacting us. This sounds terrible for you.

 

I won't try to advise you because I don't have knowledge of what you're asking about, but we have people here who do. A couple of guys on the forum are with the DWP or were, so hopefully they will turn up later and comment.

 

We'll do whatever we can.

 

My best, HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Thank you honeybee13! It is quite terrible and it's incredibly confusing, it's wearing me out to the point where part of me just wants to not even go ahead with the appeal to save myself the stress/hassle.. but then I'd really be screwed!

 

Thank you for the very kind words too, it's the first kind words I've heard in a long time I think! I do hope that someone may have some insight into what may have changed to dramatically change my status as far as the DWP are concerned!

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